The median wealth of Black Americans will plummet to zero by 2053, if things remain as they currently are.
You read that correctly.
Black Enterprise magazine reports that according to the Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies’ The Road to Zero Wealth report, it doesn’t matter how fat your six-figure salary may be (or how many degrees you have) the financial future looks dim. It doesn’t even matter whether or not you have a C-level suite with matching title from a major corporation, Black people are often still negatively impacted by a lower net worth than other communities.
Even education doesn’t appear to be the leveling agent that it has been touted to be in generations past. The latest Federal Reserve Board Survey of Consumer Finances reports that a Black person with a Bachelor’s degree still earns only two-thirds of the median net worth of a white person with no bachelor’s degree, Black Enterprise reports.
This is largely impacted by the rate that Black students take out student loans – 77.7 percent versus 57.5 percent of white students, and this results in a higher likelihood of debt early on.
“If the economy is growing at 3%, you have to earn 6% to build wealth. Your income has to grow faster than the economy,” Jeff Wilson II, author of The Lies our Parents Were Sold and Told Us and principal at The W2 Group accounting firm, told Black Enterprise. “Unfortunately, if you have massive amounts of student loan debt, your earnings will not grow faster than the debt burden that just kicked in.”
The dismal statistics hit Black women even harder. While Black women are the most educated demographic now in the United States, their net worth doesn’t reflect this fact.
According to Black Enterprise, single black women ages 20-39 who hold a Bachelor’s degree, have a median net worth of -11,000 to $0 compared to white woman in the same bracket whose net worth ranges from $3,400 – $7,500. Married Black women ages 20-39 with Bachelor’s degrees have a median net worth of -20,500 to $7,700 while married white women have a net worth range of $18,700 to $97,000.
And this isn’t merely impacting young to mid-life women. Reports say a single sister over 60 years of age with a Bachelor’s degree has a median net worth of $11,000 while white women in the same bracket have a net worth of $384,400. Married Black women with Bachelor’s degrees who are over 60, have a median net worth of $424,000 compared to $778,000 for the average over 60, married white woman.
J.D. Smith, a wealth coach at Wealthy Women Daily, told the magazine that the solution lies in how Blacks think of accumulating wealth. He said it’s typical for African-Americans to talk about working hard instead of working smart.
“The harder you work for someone else, the more taxes you are subject to pay. I’m not just talking about income taxes. There are lifestyle taxes that communities of color disproportionately pay that no one really talks about,” Smith told the magazine. “We have to be equipped with the knowledge to transform the income we make into wealth we can keep. Your money has to start working for you if you want to build wealth.”